Building horse jump standards is an economical way to build up your jumping equipment. To build a pair of standards will cost you around $15.00 for a pair of 4 ft standards! This is a lot cheaper than buying them ready made, which can be around $100.00 or more a pair, not including the shipping. This is why I decided to see if I could make my own standards, because I would rather take the time to build some jumps instead of spending a small fortune on equipment.
When you first get started, schooling standards are the easiest to make, and they are also the easiest to move around in your riding area. They are also inexpensive to make, if you are considering the products only.
You will need the following materials to make 1 pair of schooling standards that are 4 foot tall
- 1 landscaping timber (8 foot long)
- 2 2 x 4 x 8 (or 2 x 6 x 8 if you want taller, and more stable feet)
- 3” exterior decking screws
- 1 tube of caulk
- Kilz Primer
- Rustoleum White paint, oil based
- Wood glue
You will need the following tools to make your standards
- 18 Volt drill
- Circular saw (or table saw)
- Caulking gun (and putty knife)
- ¼” Auger(Spade) bit
- Tape measure
- Sharpie or construction pencil
- Wood clamp
To get started, you will cut the landscaping timber in half, this should measure 48”, or four feet. This will be the upright section of your standard. There are 2 of these per pair, which is why we started by cutting the 8’ timber in half, giving you 1 pair of 4’ standards. If you want 5’ tall standards, you will need to have 2 landscaping timbers.
But if this is the first time you are doing this, the 4’ sections are a little bit easier to work with, and if you have not been jumping yet, 4’ standards will give you a lot of heights to play with. And when you graduate to the taller standards, you can either save these, or even sell them if you don’t want to have 4’ standards at home.
This picture shows 2 4’ pieces of wood with the feet cut out too. In this example the upright sections have been made from a 4 x 4 instead of landscaping timbers, and the feet are 2 x 6’s instead of 2 x 4’s.
Then you will mark off every 16” on your 2 x 4. This will give you 6 pieces per 2 x 4. This means you will end up with 12 pieces that are 16” long. You will then cut the 2 x 4 into the 16” sections. These are the feet for your standards. Most likely you will be making more than one pair of standards, so keep the extra 16” pieces for future standards.
Once you have cut out the feet (the 16” pieces) they will be long rectangles. Now you are going to cut a triangle portion off, as this will be the top of the foot. You don’t have to cut the top corner off, but for safety reasons, it is a good idea. When I have done this with my circular saw, I would use a carpenter’s square and draw a line, this will give you a guide for cutting off the corner.
When cutting, make sure to cut away from yourself, and it may be easier to secure the piece of wood with a wood clamp.
You will do this on each 16” piece you have made.
Once you have the wood cut, now you will sand all of the rough edges. I like to do all of my sanding at once, so this includes the 16” foot sections, as well as the 4’ uprights.
So now all of your pieces are sanded. Set these off to the side, and grab your 2 uprights, and a tape measure. This is when you will drill the holes for your jump cups. If you prefer to use the keyhole track, skip this step, you will add the track when you are done assembling and painting your standards. But if you are drilling holes, you are going to place the uprights on a stable surface, and place the tape measure at the bottom. Run it to the top of the upright, and make sure you are able to mark the center of the timber.
Now, starting from the bottom, mark up every 3” (or 4”, depending on how many holes you would like on your standards.) Starting at 12” the 12” mark will be where you are drilling your first hole. Mark a dot like circle in the middle of the landscaping timber. Continue doing this every 3”. For example, you will mark at 12”, 15”, 18” 21”, 24”, 27”, 30”, 33”, 36”…. Until you get to the top of the timber.
Do this again on the second timber.
Now the fun part!
You are going to now use your drill, and drill out the holes (the dots) these will be where you put the pins for your jumps cups.
Make sure your drill bit is secure, and use the levels that are on the drill to make sure you are drilling straight, otherwise the jump cups will not fit correctly. I have found the easiest way to make sure the holes get drilled correctly is to face the upright in the “tall position”. If you were to do it at the width of the upright, the hole has a tendency to wander to the far side of the back of the standard. When you are drilling, apply even pressure. If you apply too much pressure, this will tend to splinter the wood out of the back, which will cause more sanding.
Once all of your holes are drilled, re-sand the uprights paying particular attention to where the holes were drilled. If you are really a stickler for detail, and you have a Dremel, you can sand each hole. I like to do this, because it makes the standards look much more finished, and perfect.
Now once the sanding is all done on the uprights you will get to assemble your standards.
You will take 1 upright, and 4 of your 16” foot pieces. For this, you can assemble them on the floor, or save your back, and do it on a table. Lay down the standard, making sure the bottom is where the drilled holes begin at the 12” point, you do not want to have your holes backward! Would you like to know how I know this?????
Now you are going to attach the feet. You will do this in a pinwheel fashion, and use only 1 screw, per 16” foot. Make sure your cut off corners are facing the same way, otherwise your feet will be upside down. Put a small amount of wood glue on the side of the timber where you will be attaching the foot. Make sure the foot is straight, and equal to the bottom of the timber.
Attaching 1 foot, turn the upright, and place the next foot. Continue this with 3 of the feet. For the fourth one you will need to stand the upright up, like it were a jump standard. Attach the last foot.
Now, while the standard is standing upright, use your carpenters square, and make sure all of your corners are square, and the base is stable, you don’t want it to be wobbly. Once you are happy with your standard, now you are going to add another screw to each foot. This will make sure the base is stable, and the feet won’t turn on you. Next you are going to add one more screw. This will go on the end, connecting one foot to the other. This gives you even more stability and support of the feet for your standards.
Once you are all done attaching all of the feet, dust off your standards, and now it is time to caulk the bases, and apply your primer layer of paint.
For caulking the bases, it is best to tip the standard on its side. So having a work table is handy at this point. You want to be able to see the bottom of the standard. In the empty spaces between the timber and the feet, fill in the spaces with caulk.
Then take a putty knife and flatten out the caulking. Then you will flip over the standard, and fill the empty spaces of the top of the base with caulk, and using your putty knife smooth it out.
This may be debated by professional painters, but it has worked very well for me, so this is how I do the next step.
I do not allow the caulk to dry. Once the caulk is smoothed, I paint on the primer. By painting the freshly caulked base, it levels out the caulking, giving the base a seamless appearance, and for me, a better finished looking product. I have never had any issues with the caulk or paint cracking once it dries.
Once you have painted the base, now pinwheel the standard on its side, and paint all upper edges of the feet. Do not paint the bottom yet, because you will be standing the base upright to dry.
After you have painted the base, now paint the upright portion of the standard. When you are painting around the drilled holes you may have some paint run down. At this point wipe up any runs before they dry in order to have a uniform appearance. When I am painting the standards, I usually am doing several pair at one time, so once the first standard is drying, and I have started another one, after I get the second one painted, I will go back to the first and catch any drips or runs. This usually curtails the problem.
Once you have coated the standards with two coats of primer allow it to dry. Then you will tip the standard over, and paint the bottom, and allow to dry.
Once they have dried, now is when you will paint it with your finish coat, the Rustoleum. I typically do two coats of this as well, and follow the same steps that you did for the primer. One thing to keep in mind when working with the oil based paint, it dries REALLY slowly, so allow at least 12 hours dry time between coats or moving the standards.
Building the standards for a jump will be the most difficult when you make the first pair, but after that it will get easier, and easier.In fact, you may find that you get very good at it, and then maybe you can make some standards to sell so you can make a little extra money to support your horsey habit!